Barbra: The Music, The Mem’ries, The Magic
San Jose, California
August 4, 2016
- Overture/Video Package
- The Way We Were
- Being at War with Each Other
- Everything Must Change
- Woman in Love
- Stoney End
- Enough is Enough
- Lior Suchard (Master Mentalist works his amazing mind tricks on the audience)
- You Don't Bring Me Flowers
- Being Alive
- Papa, Can You Hear Me?
- Pure Imagination
- Encore Video Package
- Who Can I Turn To? (with Anthony Newley)
- Losing My Mind
- Isn't This Better?
- How Lucky Can You Get?
- With One More Look at You
- Children Will Listen
- Don't Rain On My Parade
- Happy Days Are Here Again
- I Didn't Know What Time It Was
Intermission videos: My Name is Barbra commercial
NBC Bay Area News
The Mercury News
Barbra Streisand strolls down Memory Lane
By Jim Harrington
There were moments when it was nearly impossible not to be awestruck by what we were witnessing onstage at the SAP Center on Thursday.
There would be a note so luxurious, a smile so radiant or a song so rich with nostalgia, leading the capacity crowd to fully realize we weren't just witnessing a performance by some ordinary pop singer. Instead, we were hearing one of the greatest vocalists of all time:
The 74-year-old Brooklyn native -- who, with nearly 150 million albums sold, ranks among the world's top-selling artists -- lived up to her mighty legacy during her show in San Jose. She was in amazing voice, and so rich in star power, as she used her approximately two hours onstage to revive songs from throughout her recording career, which began with the Grammy-winning "The Barbra Streisand Album" in 1963.
It just feels like such a treat to see Streisand, a performer once known for touring about as frequently as the Chicago Cubs win the World Series. Indeed, she once went nearly three decades between tours. In recent years, however, she's been a regular road warrior -- well, at least by her standards -- having embarked on three tours in the 21st century alone.
Still, she limits the number of stops on each tour. She's only performing in nine cities on the current Barbra: The Music, The Mem'ries, The Magic tour, which kicked off earlier in the week in Los Angeles.
Thankfully for Bay Area fans, San Jose made the cut.
Backed by a sensational band, Streisand drew a standing ovation as she took the stage, blew a kiss to her fans and began humming her way into "The Way We Were," the Oscar-winning theme song to the 1973 movie of the same name. Then came that one-in-a-billion voice, perfectly setting the reflective mood for the evening with the song's opening lyrics: "Memories, light the corners of my mind/Misty-water-colored memories, of the way we were"
She'd continue to ride wave after wave of nostalgia, delighting the 12,000-plus fans with "Stoney End" (from the 1971 album of the same name), "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" (from 1979's "Wet"), "Woman in Love" (from 1980's "Guilty") and other blasts from the past during the first set.
She also took plenty of time to talk with the crowd, mostly about memories and events related to the songs on the set list. Yet, not everything was about yesteryear. She did show, on at least one occasion, that she's been keeping up with trends.
"Tonight, I wasn't sure where to go (to get to the venue)," she said. "So, I followed Pokemon Go and it led me here to the Shark Tank."
Of course, this being an election year, Streisand also spent too much time talking politics. She celebrated Hilary Clinton's candidacy, called Donald Trump "an out-of-control freak" and, in general, probably made any fans with differing political views feel very uncomfortable.
"Are there many Republicans here?" she asked. "I appreciate you coming tonight, even though you know where my heart is."
Streisand, an accomplished actress, made her comments sound like they were off the cuff. Yet, most of what she said onstage was scripted in advance, shown on a giant teleprompter stealthily hung from the ceiling. (The teleprompter also was used for lyrics.)
The only big misstep of the night was when Streisand brought out a magician/mind-reader, who then turned a classy evening of sophisticated pop music into a bizarre vaudeville-style affair. I realize this is probably done so the star can have a chance to rest her voice, yet it just doesn't fit with the rest of the show. A much better choice would be another video segment or, even, an instrumental interlude.
She'd more than make up for that folly in the second set, which opened with "Pure Imagination" from Streisand's forthcoming album, "Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway." This collection of Broadway duets, with such Hollywood stars as Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman and Melissa McCarthy, is due in stores at the end of this month.
Streisand was still going strong as the show drew to a close, practically skipping off the stage after finishing "Don't Rain on My Parade" at the end of the main set, then returning for an encore highlighted by a moving version of "People."
Streisand powers through an evening of ‘Mem’ries’
By David Wiegand
Barbra Streisand flew into San Francisco the night before her Thursday show at San Jose’s SAP Center and headed immediately for Chinatown, she told the adoring, nearly-sold-out crowd. Did they know she worked at a Chinese restaurant as a teenager in Brooklyn?It’s true, she said. She was as a cashier at a place called Choy’s and reeled off the names of a couple of Chinese takeout dishes to prove it. The 74-year-old singer was in an uncharacteristically reflective mood Thursday, as she will be on all nine stops of a tour meant to herald the arrival of her new album of duets called “Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway” (to be released Aug. 26). She opened the concert with “The Way We Were,” and ended nearly three hours later with an encore of “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.” In between there were gold record songs from each of the six decades in her career, one change of costume and a minimally entertaining Israeli mind-reader who seemed to have been a reject from “Israel’s Got Talent.” Dressed in black sequined trousers and a matching, roomy top, Streisand commanded the stage for a 90-minute first act with pianist Randy Waldman conducting a small instrumental ensemble with three back-up singers. Yes, almost everything was scripted. Streisand was aided by a large teleprompter hanging from the middle of the auditorium. She was in no danger of forgetting lyrics, or patter, for that matter. Even the suggestion that she might “Hum?” at one point appeared in front of her. Nonetheless, she forgot the lyrics to Kander and Ebb’s “Isn’t This Better” from “Funny Lady.” She laughed it off and more or less found her way back to the song.
Although most of the time she sat or leaned on a high captain’s chair at center stage, she occasionally wandered around the wide, well-appointed set decorated with pink roses (which, she sniffed, weren’t as fragrant as flowers from her own garden), and sipped tea. She dropped the mic at one point and just laughed it off. A few minutes later, something was amiss with her shoe. None of it fazed her.Coincidentally (or maybe not), forgetting the lyrics to a song pushed Streisand off the stage for years after 1967 when her free “Happening in Central Park” concert drew 135,000 on a warm June night to the Sheep Meadow in New York. After returning to big live shows in the ‘90’s, she’s been back on the road several times since. Of course, she couldn’t ignore signature numberss in Thursday’s concert, but she also offered several songs she hadn’t performed in 2012, her last visit to the San Jose venue.
She joined the late Anthony Newley in an archive video of the song “Who Can I Turn To,” reminiscent of her video duet with Marlon Brando in “The Concert” tour. She paid tribute to Stephen Sondheim with “Losing My Mind” (and the more frequently performed “Being Alive” from “Company”), wove a bit of “Stoney End” into the show, “Everything Must Change” from her album “Higher Ground,” the hit single “Woman in Love” from“Guilty” and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” as a solo.The voice is still a force of nature. She’s not 19 anymore, though, and the sound has inevitably darkened. While still strong in the lower registers, she sometimes has to work a bit on higher, sustained notes on power ballads. It didn’t matter. She needed her opening song to warm up a little but after that, she powered through the evening. She continues to be one of the world’s most expressive singers, applying her acting skills to telling the story of each song. The musical arrangements were adequate but not much more. Tempos were often slower, registers carefully adjusted. Of course, no one could equal the brilliance of the late Marvin Hamlisch, but the instrumental support was a bit lackluster here. Streisand likes company on stage, as she’s proven in the past. Whether it’s Il Divo, trumpeter Chris Botti or her honey-voiced son, Jason, the singer likes to sort of turn the stage over to someone else for a few minutes. Fair enough. The lady’s earned a rest, but a mind-reader? Yep, Lior Suchard joined her onstage for a few tiresome minutes, drawing a lucky lady from the audience to help him with a mind-reading trick involving a cell phone and a bunch of numbers. It was the low point of the evening, but since it occurred in the middle of the long first act, it enabled several audience members to make use of the facilities and get refills of nachos and chips. In my heart, I was crying for Howie Mandel to hit the buzzer. For the second act, Streisand emerged in a billowing, dove-grey gown, an enormous outbreak of jewelry around her neck and a nearly floor-length lavalier descending from the gown’s empire waist. Although, in one of her frequent jabs at Donald Trump, she said all of her clothes were made in the US, this one seemed to be from the Westeros label’s winter collection. She waited til the end to roll out “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “People” and “Happy Days Are Here Again,” and the audience responded with a roar. But if there was one special moment in three hours filled with special moments, it was in the supposedly unplanned final encore, Rodgers and Hart’s “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.” The tour is subtitled, “The Music, the Mem’ries, the Magic.” And this was the evening’s most magical moment. Somehow, Streisand turned a massive hockey rink into the Village Vanguard, the Bon Soir supper club or the hungry i. It was simple, intimate and pure. Years disappeared and the audience was transported by a woman who has been “The Greatest Star” for more than half a century.
Ed Uyeshima's review of the San Jose concert
While it may have seemed prescient for Barbra Streisand to sing “I’m the Greatest Star” for the first time over a half-century ago in the original Broadway version of “Funny Girl”, she proved once again at the SAP Center what she knew all along: She IS the greatest star. In fact, when she performed “How Lucky Can You Get?” from “Funny Lady”, she repeated from the movie the spoken word interlude in the middle of the song, “Do you really want to know what it feels like to be famous?... ”FAN!.. F*&%ING!... TASTIC!” Folks, this is a genuine legend who at 74, deserves to utter every ‘F’ in that word. My partner and I have been able to take advantage of her post-millennial boom in concert tours. This is the third time we have basked in her brilliance live, and I don’t throw that word around liberally.
Even though she claims to be lazy and even though she admitted she was doing this for a painting she wants in the New York Times piece, make no mistake that Barbra Streisand is a once-in-a-lifetime performer not to be missed. We had good seats at the back of the first level to the right of the stage. I was immediately jealous of all the people who got seats on the floor of the arena because they were surely not as devoted fans as I have been for the past 45 years, the same self-delusion that I’m sure almost everyone had in that cavernous venue. What a thrill to find this show to be all Streisand, straight, no chaser. No opening act. No bombastic quartet of young opera boys whose cumulative age barely surpasses Barbra’s age. No full orchestra either.
Just a small instrumental band and three back-up singers. Wearing a lacey black pantsuit with bell-bottoms, Streisand simply glided onto the stage from the back and lit into “The Way We Were” with mellifluous ease. Goose pimples delivered. In a retrospective mood, she strung the evening together against the backdrop of the covers of her past #1 albums. The benefit of this approach was not only her entertaining, behind-the scenes stories on their production but also her choices of songs, not necessarily her chart toppers but genuine chestnuts like “Everything Must Change” from “Higher Ground” and Carole King’s “Being at War With Each Other” performed against a historical montage of political demonstrations supporting her causes.
She even showed genuine enthusiasm for more commercial, up-tempo hits like Barry Gibb’s “Woman in Love” from “Guilty”; Laura Nyro’s “Stoney End”, of which she said on her last tour that she was too mature to sing anymore; and her disco diva anthem, “Enough Is Enough”. Taking a break, she let Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard perform an elaborate trick that involved throwing Frisbees to the audience, which produced a fairly ugly scene where a selfish guy on the floor grabbed one from a woman unapologetically. It was the only time I heard booing all evening. Despite the Vegas lounge act aspect of it, Streisand merely got up and delivered more of her classics with a triumphant, Act One-ending “Papa, Can You Hear Me?” from her own personal act of passion, “Yentl”.
Wearing a gray diaphanous gown, she focused the first part of Act Two on selections from her upcoming album, “Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway”. Given our Silicon Valley location, there were none of the celebrity guest appearances from her L.A. concert two nights prior, meaning there was no Mark Zuckerberg singing “Guilty”. It was just Barbra, and that was fine by us as eye-popping visuals on the back screen complemented her soaring performance on “Pure Imagination” and then a fully informed sense of melancholy in her long-awaited rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Losin’ My Mind”. On the back screen, the late Anthony Newley sang a touching duet with her on “Who Can I Turn To?” although I don’t think she ever referred to him by his full name.
She segued into a “Funny Lady” medley where she told an amusing anecdote about how Liza Minnelli sang a song at a party after which Barbra asked her what the song was. Liza reminded her it was a song from “Funny Lady”. She launched into that song, “Isn’t It Better?” but promptly forgot the lyrics. Instead of getting flustered, she seemed bemused and resigned and simply looked up at the gigantic teleprompter that was scrolling all her song lyrics and most of her patter. Its presence didn’t take away any of the magic for me, as it just showed me she still has a lingering need for perfectionism even if it means all of us looking at the screen as well. Unfortunately, it gave several tone-deaf fans an opportunity to sing along. The montage of “A Star Is Born” film clips brought back memories for me as she sang “With One More Look at You” fortunately without the rock-out finale from the movie.
The “Funny Girl” classics came in short order with both “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and “People” still sounding fresh after all these years. Of course, her amusing anti-Trump quips throughout the evening came to a smashing crescendo with her signature tune, her slowed-down version of the Democratic Party campaign song, “Happy Days Are Here Again”. Because we didn’t get a chance to hear her soaring duet with Jamie Foxx, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”, like the L.A. audience did, we were treated to the supper club smokiness of “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” as her final encore, one of the bonus tracks from her upcoming album. I certainly hope Barbra gets the painting she has her eye on because she deserves it for the dazzling, transcendent evening she produced for all of us at the SAP Center. I envy those who get to experience her in the coming weeks.
Linda Goldstone's SJ Review
Well, what can I tell you? Only that the concert was phenomenal. Barbra is pure magic from the moment she walks onto that stage until she leaves it after three encores and leaves the crowd begging for more. She joked with us, engaged with us, confided in us. New songs and old, from Funny Girl onward. Don't know which songs were my favorites, but among them were How Lucky Can You Get, People, Happy Days, Enough is Enough, Stoney End, Papa Can You Hear Me? (brought down the house) the song from Willy Wonka, Pure Imagination, and so many more.
There were clips of her early days played on the big screen, album covers, behind the scene looks at the recording of her new album, Encore.
It was a mystical, magical evening that was filled with music and memories and magic and love. So very much love.
How is it possible to love someone we have never met? I don't have the answer as to "how," I only know that we can and do. I have loved Barbra for 53 years, ever since I saw her on the Judy Garland show. I didn't think it was possible to love her any more than I already do. I was wrong.
How do I feel after being at last night's concert with her? Like one of the luckiest people in the world.
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